BootsnAll Travel Network

Ready… set… Action!!

So far on this trip I’ve helped build houses in Auckland, went whitewater rafting in Rotorua, bungy jumped in Queenstown, climbed Mt. Kinabalu and went snorkeling in Borneo, and ran a marathon in Thailand. Now I can add acting in a movie to the list. The BBC and HBO are here in Phuket filming a movie about the tsunami that hit SE Asia in December 2004. They’ve been recruiting westerners to be extras in the film, so I went to the set last Monday morning and ended up working all week. How crazy is that? I’m in Thailand on holiday, and I end up being in a movie. I knew I was going to have some cool experiences on this trip, but that’s definitely one thing I didn’t expect.

The working title of the movie is “Tsunami: The Aftermath.” There was a little write-up about it in the Bangkok Post yesterday; here’s a bit of the article:

“‘The film is the result of extensive research with people in Thailand whose lives were affected one way or the other by the tsunami,’ says Jane Featherstone, executive producer and joint MD of Kudos Productions, which produced the movie for the BBC.
‘We tried to find some insight to the aftermath of the event, and to show that it affects people all over the world.’
The multi-stranded story involves a Burmese, an Australian, an American, a Swede and a Thai villager who connects the various threads together. ‘We looked at other countries that were also hit by the waves, but decided to base our story in Phuket because this is the place where people from different backgrounds and cultures come together and experience the tragic event,’ says Featherstone.
‘And we believe that by presenting it as a drama, instead of as a documentary, allows us to explore the emotional, political and social sides of things in greater detail.'”

It’s pretty boring work and we spend the majority of the time just sitting around, but when we’re actually filming it’s pretty fun. I’ve gotten to be in about a half dozen scenes so far. Two at the Phuket airport, where I played an injured tourist, and four or five at the Metropole Hotel where I played a reporter. One of the main characters in the movie is played by Tim Roth, who is probably best known for his role as Ringo (aka “Pumpkin”) in Pulp Fiction, and I’ve been in a few of his scenes. Hopefully they won’t all end up on the cutting room floor. It’s really interesting to be on the set, and you’d be amazed at how much work goes into shooting a scene. They’ll spend hours setting up and shooting a scene that on film may only be five or ten seconds long.

They’ve been paying me 1500 Baht a day ($39 USD), which isn’t very much at all by US standards, but 1500 Baht goes a long way here. (One day’s work pays for my lodging at the hostel for 5 nights.) On top of that, they also feed us two large meals a day, plus sandwiches and snacks twice a day and all the coffee and water we want. It’s a pretty sweet deal for me. They’ll be shooting at the hospital on Monday, and then moving up to Bangkok for the final few days of shooting. I don’t know yet whether I’ll go up to Bangkok with them or not, but hopefully I will because it would be a few days more work and a free trip back up to Bangkok from Phuket. More info on the movie can be found here on the Internet Movie Database.

Anyway, since I’m a working stiff for the time being, I haven’t been doing much else. I have, however, met quite a few other people on the set, both travelers and westerners living in Thailand, and some of us have been hanging out together outside of the set for dinner, drinks, etc. It’s easy to see why so many people come to Thailand and don’t leave. Once you learn the ropes it’s a pretty cool place to be. I’ll likely be here another two weeks and then move on to Africa.

Tags: , , , , ,

One Response to “Ready… set… Action!!”

  1. Moe Says:

    Hey Tim. Good to hear you’re having a good time. I can’t believe you’re on your way to becoming a movie star;) I heard about that movie so now I have a reason to watch it. Be safe!

  2. Posted from United States United States